Реклама в Интернет * Все Кулички
|A happy wake-up call from the Avs: Zadorov hits ice after Sabres trade
19 сентября 2015 года. Frei, Terry. Denver Post
Newlyweds Nikita and Alexandra Zadorov were in The Maldives islands. Their phones lit up with messages and texts. Nikita remained sound asleep. Finally, Alexandra noticed.
"My wife woke up at 4 o'clock, she was getting so many texts," Nikita said Friday. "She woke me up and said, 'We got traded.' So I was sleeping when it happened. I missed Joe's call, Patty's call, all the calls. I looked at my phone and had so many calls and missed texts ..."
The calls, of course, were from the Avalanche's Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy, welcoming the 20-year-old Russian defenseman to the organization after acquiring him from Buffalo in the June trade that sent Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn to the Sabres.
"As soon as I heard 'Colorado Avalanche,' I was happy," Zadorov said. "I knew about this organization. I knew about Patrick and Joe. It's always nice to play for a GM who's actually been here and knows what it's like for the players when you're playing and working hard."
Three months after those calls, Zadorov and the other young Russian who came to Colorado in the deal, 21-year-old center Mikhail Grigorenko, were on the ice with the Avalanche on Friday when training camp opened at Family Sports Center.
For both, it's not so much a second chance because they're not old enough to be considered washouts, but it is perhaps a chance to prove that they weren't overvalued when they went so high in the NHL draft -- Grigorenko at No. 12 in 2012, Zadorov at No. 16 the next year.
Zadorov, 6-foot-5 and 220, played seven games for the Sabres in 2013-14, then 60 in Buffalo's horrible 2014-15 season that, thanks to lottery luck, didn't land it the top overall choice and once-in-a-decade prospect Connor McDavid. At times, Zadorov looked in over his head, but he was playing the position considered to be the toughest NHL adjustment -- and for an awful team.
Zadorov won't go along with the common view that the Sabres rushed him.
"No, I had a great time there," he said. "It was the best time of my life, a great two years. It was the greatest organization, great people there, great teammates and I always will be thankful to them for drafting me. They made a hockey player of me, I learned a lot there and had some bad lessons too. But everything else was great."
He didn't make excuses for his well-publicized mistakes, most notably pulling a Ty Lawson, missing a January practice after the All-Star Game break then reporting late to a meeting in March. "Bad things happen, but I'm not going to make those mistakes anymore," he said.
Zadorov was raised in Moscow. Grigorenko moved there with his family from extreme eastern Russia when he was 7. He came to North America to play major junior with the Roy-coached Quebec Remparts and as a pro has split time between Rochester of the American Hockey League and the Sabres. In 68 NHL games, he has six goals and eight assists.
English was a mystery to Grigorenko when he went to Canada in 2011. Four years later, after working with a tutor as much as three hours a day, at Roy's suggestion, Grigorenko sounds as if he is from Moscow, Idaho.
What was it like to play for Roy at Quebec?
"I think it was pretty similar," Grigorenko said. "I remember my first practice in Quebec, it was a really, really tough practice with a really good skate at the end. It was pretty much the same today. Patrick was really great to everyone and really fair to everyone and he wants everyone to work as hard as he does. It was great playing for him, and I have the same feeling for the upcoming year."